In Wikipedia is written that Gnome Shell in Gnome 3 uses Mutter window manager.

But ps x | grep mutter shows that Mutter is not running. Moreover I had experience with working Gnome Shell before I installed Mutter.

Does Gnome Shell really use Mutter? Which WM are used and which can be used with Gnome Shell?

1 Answer 1


Yes, mutter is used by gnome-shell but it's used as a library. The mutter binary is just a tiny program that links against libmutter. You could try like this:

lsof | grep mutter
  • 1
    Yes, I see, mutter is used, but as a library not as an executable
    – porton
    Commented Nov 20, 2012 at 20:13
  • Thank you. I was hacking on mutter and was wondering why my changes has no effect in gnome session after I copy mutter into $(which mutter). You answer explains it all, I had to copy build/src/libmutter-9.so.0.0.0 instead. Now it works!
    – Hi-Angel
    Commented Feb 9, 2022 at 22:18

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